Family Affair: Yates Gets First Win

As the night progressed and Mets relievers ticked off the final remaining outs in the Expos lineup, <!--Default NodeId For Tyler Yates is 1126505,2004--><A HREF=[PlayerNode:1126505]>Tyler Yates</A> did his best to remain cool and composed in the dugout.

Sure, this was his first major league win on the line. He no longer had fate in his own control, instead trusting his evening to the arms of John Franco, Mike Stanton and Braden Looper.

But no worries, right?

Try as he might, Yates' rooting interests cracked through in a shaky ninth inning, as the rookie righthander found himself trying to control Looper's every movement, mouthing directions in the general direction of the mound.

Bust him in. Set him up away. Keep it low.

"I was right there with Looper, going pitch-for-pitch with him," Yates said. "I was trying to be in the same game plan, the same mode. I knew what he was going to do, and I was just trying to tell him to trust his stuff."

Looper certainly made it interesting, loading the bases on three straight two-out singles, but Tony Batista finally bounced into a game-ending fielder's choice that finalized the effort, a 4-1 Mets victory.

The Mets snapped their three-game losing skid, but more importantly to Yates, with his third major-league outing in the books, he was headed home with a victory.

So were his parents, Gary and Janna: along with Yates' girlfriend, they had literally weathered the storm of Yates' last outing, a 6-1 loss to the Braves at rain-soaked Shea Stadium last Wednesday.

There was a far more hospitable place back home in Hawaii, the Poipu Beach Broiler in Kaapaa, a restaurant and bar owned by Yates' family. Though a crowd of more than 50 was expected to huddle around the establishment's three TV sets tonight, Yates convinced his parents not to make the flight after the Atlanta game.

Good decision. This trip to Shea was slightly more satisfying.

"Am I touching the ground?" Gary Yates asked aloud in the clubhouse.

"It was a big start for them to see," Yates said, in the understatement of the evening. If you could get an election together overnight, Yates could probably run for mayor of Kaapaa and win in a landslide.

It didn't even matter that the victory came over Montreal, baseball's unloved orphan franchise; the same Expos who still haven't been to their so-called home stadium and entered the game with the lowest team batting average in the majors.

As Yates cradled three baseballs – one ‘game ball,' one for his first professional hit (a single off of Tomo Ohka in the fourth inning) and the ball that Looper used to induce Batista to chop into the game-ending play – who cared who was in the visiting clubhouse, anyway?

"I don't think it matters. The worst hitting team can go out there and put up 20 runs on any given day," said Yates. "It's still Major League Baseball."

With his parents headed back across the country first thing Tuesday, there's not enough time for Yates to live it up out on the town. Though he has just a quiet night ahead of him back at the team hotel, it'll do for a pitcher who appears as though he'll have plenty more to celebrate in the future.

"It feels good. I can't explain it," Yates said. "Hopefully it's not the last one. Hopefully it's the first of many."


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